Thursday, November 8, 2007

Broadcatching on the cheap

As an avid TV-show broadcatcher who doesn't own a single actual television, I'm always looking to tighten up the process. I use an old PC as my server ($20 from SWAP for a 600Mhz Compaq with 384MB of RAM) and a light version of Linux to keep things snappy and responsive.

Therein lies my problem. The most popular broadcatching software is not exactly made for old hardware. Azureus is an awesome swiss army knife of a program, but on my old server it's a HOG! After about 4 or 5 weeks of continuous use, RAM and swap memory run out and Azureus actually comes close to crashing the whole system.

So, this evening I began my hunt for a low-resource alternative. I ended up with a two-program solution. The first is TED, the torrent episode downloader. Unlike most RSS readers, it is specifically designed for broadcatching TV shows. Written in Java, it's cross-platform, easy to use, and feature-rich.



TED grabs the torrents as they become available, and then hands them off to Transmission to do the actual downloading. Transmission is the lightest bittorrent client with a GUI that I have ever seen. One config screen, one display screen, and done.



Both programs are open-source (of course) and cross platform for you Windows and Mac users. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

UPDATE:

So, the Transmission is a POS. It's got some ridiculous memory leak that makes it as unusable as Azureus. So, I tried the console/curses version of BitTornado. Basic interface using minimal resources, but I can't figure out how to change any settings. So, I ended up at Deluge. Much better solution for low resources...
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